El Chapo, A Criminal: Can He Register His Name and Profit From It?

by Diana Muller, Guest Blogger on Thursday, 11 February, 2016

The world has recently been fascinated by the capture of one of the most wanted men in the world, Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman Loera, known as “El Chapo.” When El Chapo was finally arrested by the Mexican Marines in early January, the image of him wearing a filthy shirt went viral. The US media was also captivated by El Chapo’s secretive interview with the American actor Sean Penn, published in Rolling Stone magazine (at this interview, El Chapo wore a shirt that according to its California manufacturer became a “best seller” thereafter). Mr. Loera earned his nickname not because of his criminal exploits, but because of his diminutive size. The term “el chapo” is quite commonly used in Mexico to identify short people, who are also frequently called “chaparros.”

Intellectual property lawyers were intrigued by El Chapo's interest in a bigger venture: producing a movie about his life. The notorious drug lord was not satisfied with the accumulation of power and money generated by his criminal activities. He wanted more, and during his most recent stint in prison he instructed his Mexican lawyers to protect his name. Did the Mexican authorities grant his wishes based on Mexican trademark law and practice? The answer is NO. The Mexican IP Office, known as the IMPI, denied registration of the following four applications: El Chapo Guzman; Joaquin El Chapo Guzman; El Chapito Guzman and Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Loera El Chapo Guzman. The applications were filed by El Chapo’s daughter, Alejandrina Gisselle Guzman Salazar, and his wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro. The IMPI based its objections on the fact that such applications identify an international criminal, within the prohibitions article 4 of the Mexican Industrial Property Law, namely: “No patents, registrations or authorizations shall be granted nor shall publications in the Gazette be carried out for the legal figures or institutions regulated under this Law whose content or form is contrary to public order, to moral and decency, or that contravene any legal provision.”

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IKEA Loses Its Trademark in Indonesia

by T+B BLOG TEAM on Tuesday, 9 February, 2016

Multinational furniture company IKEA lost its trademark in Indonesia to a local Indonesian rattan furniture company. The Indonesian Supreme Court ruling came down in May 2015, but was only recently published online.

The Indonesian furniture company, PT Ratania Khatulistiwa, registered the IKEA trademark (an acronym for the Indonesian words Intan Khatulistiwa Esa Abadi) in December 2013.

According to the court ruling, IKEA had registered its trademark in Indonesia in 2010, but since it had not actively been used for three consecutive years, it could be deleted under Indonesian law. The global retailer’s first Indonesian store opened near Jakarta the following year, in late 2014.

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Topics: trademarks

Court Rules There’s No Confusion Regarding ‘Empire’ TV Show & California Company of Same Name

by T+B BLOG TEAM on Monday, 8 February, 2016

Fox TV’s hit television show ‘Empire’ said goodbye to any more worries about a multi-million trademark action against it from a company called Empire Distribution, after a judge ruled that the network has a First Amendment right to use the title ‘Empire.’ A U.S. District Court judge ruled that San Francisco-based music company, Empire Distribution, did not make a successful case for a likelihood of confusion between it and the TV drama, granting Fox’s motion for summary judgment.

How did this all begin? Shortly after the TV show’s debut in 2015, Empire Distribution — claiming to use the trademarks Empire, Empire Distribution, Empire Publishing, and Empire Recordings — sent letters to Fox claiming ownership rights to the Empire name. Empire Distribution said that because the TV show featured “a label run by a homophobic drug dealer prone to murdering his friends”that it posed a threat to its brand. The company went on to say it would drop all claims to the name if Fox either paid it $8 million, provided guest spots for its artists plus paid it $5 million, or stopped using the Empire name altogether.

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Topics: trademarks

Honey Badger DOES Care … About Trademarks

by T+B BLOG TEAM on Friday, 5 February, 2016

Remember the good old days of viral videos, before cats started playing keyboards . . . when animals did animal-like things, like the “Dramatic Chipmunk” and the Honey Badger? Remember “Honey Badger Don’t Care!” and “Honey Badger Don’t Give a Sh*t!”? (Note: That asterisk is ours.)

Well, it turns out the apathetic little Honey Badger apparently does care about something . . . and that “something” happens to be trademarks.

Christopher Gordon is the narrator of those Honey Badger videos and he registered “Honey Badger Don’t Care” with the USPTO, but It turns out he didn’t register the phrase “Honey Badger Don’t Give a Sh*t.” Why is that? As Techdirt points out: “You can probably chalk up the lack of a ‘Honey Badger Don’t Give a Sh*t’ trademark to the Patent and Trademark Office's general resistance to all things sweary.”

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Topics: trademarks

ICANN Working on First gTLD Marketplace Health Index

by T+B BLOG TEAM on Wednesday, 3 February, 2016

ICANN has plans to publish its first gTLD Marketplace Health Index this summer as part of its broader ICANN Key Performance Indicator Dashboard (now in beta). The organization says the index “will analyze the overall health and diversity of the global gTLD marketplace.” Based on the proposal’s key performance indicators, the Health Index will examine metrics on gTLD renewal rates, new registrations, the incidence of data security breaches and UDRP and URS decisions, the number of registrars offering IDN registrations, the ratio of registrars to registrar “families,” and service-level compliance issues per TLD, among others.

The public comment period for the project just ended January 22 and ICANN says the comments it received will be used to help the gTLD Marketplace Health Index Advisory Panel develop the project roadmap.

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Topics: ICANN, nGTLDs

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